The size and scope of the overall plan for state spending will be determined by the final bill to clear the 2010 Iowa Legislature. Lawmakers hope to wrap up work on that bill sometime today. After initial hesitation in the Iowa House, Democratic lawmakers have given the governor one of his top priorities, another $150-million for the I-JOBS program.
Governor Culver, a Democrat, argued the money will help create short-term jobs and about 30 million will be used to help communities rebuild after the 2008 disasters. Representative Renee Shulte, a Republican from flood-ravaged Cedar Rapids, still voted against the spending.
“There’s so much more in this bill that’s pork for all over the state that actually that vote’s pretty easy for me,” Shulte says. “I have to be a no.” Republicans in both the House and the Senate opposed the plan which set aside about $273 million for a variety of infrastructure projects.
Lawmakers had hoped to wrap up work on the 2010 legislative session last week, but late Saturday decided to return to Des Moines this week to complete their work. Representative Tom Schueller of Maquoketa led members of the House in prayer this morning.
“Heavenly father, look upon each and every one of us as we begin — hopefully — our last day of session,” Schueller prayed. “Guide in your all-powerful ways to make the best decisions we can.”
Among the final decisions for today: inserting policy proposals into a budget bill. For example, Democratic legislative leaders say enhanced penalties for motorists who follow bicycles too closely, or who don’t yield the right-of-way will be among the proposals added to a budget bill that’s scheduled for debate in the House and Senate today.